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- How an idea is expressed.
- Principle of style:
- Words: Write clearly, concisely
- Sentences: variety of sentence types, active & passive voice, parallel stucture
- Paragraphs: Keep paragraph unified and coherent, control length
- Tone: Write confidently, courteous and sincere tone, approp emphasis and subordination, positive language, stress "you" attitude
are elements in communinication that show up only in writing, for example, spelling, punctuation, abbreviations, caps, number expression and word division,
- Be accurate and complete
- use familar words
- use specific, concrete language
- avoid dangling expressions
- avoid cliches, slang and unncessary jargon
Be accurate and complete
Presenting infor truthfully. Depends on what is said, left unsaid and the integrity, fairness and good judgement to make ethical.
Use Familiar words
Write to express, not to impress. Short and simple words used are less likely to distract the reader. Literary authors use words to impress, Business writers use words to express and to achieve comprehension.
Use Specific, Concrete Language
- Chose specific words: that have definite meaning
- Chose concrete words: that bring a definite picture to your readers mind. Watch out for: several, a number of, a few, a lot of. Be exact.
Avoid Dangling Expressions
- a part of a sentence that doesn't logically fit in with the rest of the sentence. Its relationship with the rest of the sentence is unclear, it dangles. Two most common are Misplaced Modifiers and Antecedents.
- Make the subject of the sentence the doer of the action expressed in the introductory clause.
- Move expression closer to the word it modifies
- Make sure the specific word to which a pronoun refers (its antecedent) is clear
Avoid cliches, slang, and unnecessary jargon
Cliche: expression that has become montonous through overuse. Slang is informal, short lived, and identified with a specific group of people. Watch out not to turn nouns into verbs by adding IZE.
Avoid Redundancy and wordy expressions
- Redundancy: is the unncessary repetition of an idea that has already been expressed and intimated.
- Bad: Signing both copies of the lease is a necessary REQUIREMENT
- Good: Signing both copies of the lease is necessary
- DONT CONFUSE REDUNTANT WITH REPETITION
- Repetition: using the same word more than once.
- Common redundancies: New innovation, combine together, divide up, plan ahead, any and all, 11:00 AM in the morning, different types, basic fundamentals, each and every day, repeat again, free gift. Avoid addng a noun when it has it in the acronym: ATM Machine.
- Remove lard:
- Are of that option that: believe
- in the event of: if
- due to the fact: because
- pertaining to: about
- for the purpose of: for or to
Avoid hidden verbs and hidden subjects
- A hidden berb is a verb that has been changed into a noun form, thereby weakening the action.
- Arrived at a conclusion: Concluded
- came to an agreement: Agreed
- has a requirement for: Required
- made a payment: Paid
- is an expression, such as there is or it is, that gegins a clause or sentence and for which the pronoun has no antecedent.
- Bad: There was no indication that it is necessary to include john in the meeting
- Good: No one indicated that John should be included in the meeting.
Imply or Condense
sometimes you do not need to explicity state certain information, you can imply it. In other situations, you can use adjectives and adverbs instead of clauses to convey the needed info in a more concese format.
- contains one independent clause
- I quit
- Employees can enroll in the companys 401K
- Both part and full time employees can enroll in the companys 401k and in an infividual retirement plan
- contains two or more independent clauses, because each clause is a seperate idea. uses BUT
- Stacey listened, I nodded.
- Morris Technoligies made a major acquistion last year, but it turned out to be a mistake.
- contains one independent clause and at least one dependent clause. The dependednt clause provides additional but subordinate information related to the independant clause.
- Although it cost $235, the schanner will save vaulable imput time.
- I will move to Austin when I start my new job.
Using a variety of sentence patterns and lengths keeps writing interesting.
Use active and Passive voice appropiately
- Active voice: the subject performs the action expressed by the verb.
- Passive voice: the subject receives the action expressed by the verb. (longer than active) good a providing negative info.
- Active: Old Navy offeres a full refund on all orders
- Passive: A full refund on all orders is offered by Old Navy.
Use Parallel Structure
- Parallelism: means using similar grammatical stucture for similar ideas. match adjectives with adj, noun with noun.
- Bad: The new dispatcher is competent and a fast worker.
- Good: The new dispatcher is competent and fast.
The main idea is often identified in the first sentence of the paragraph.
Keep paragraphs unified and coherent
- Unitiy: A unified paragraph gives info that is directly related to the topic, presents this information in a logical order, and omits irrelevent details.
- Coherence: A coherent paragraph weaves sentences together so that the discussion is integrated. Using transitional words, pronouns, repetition, and parallelism.
Creating an Appropriate Tone
- in writing referes to the writers attitude toward both the reader and the subject of the message.
- Guidelines for tone:
- Write confidently
- use a courteous and sincere tone
- use appropriate emphasis and subordination
- use positive language
- stess the "you" attitude
- Avoid language that makes you sound unsure.
- Bad: If you would like to take advantage of this offer, call..
- Good: To take advantage of this offer, call our toll free #.
Use a courteous and sincere tone
- Platitudes: trite, obvious statements implies a condescending attitude. A platitude is a statement so obvious that including it in a message would insult a reader.
- Bad: you failed to; we find it difficult to believe that; you surely don't expect; your complaint
Use Appropriate Emphasis and Subordination
Let your reader know which ideas are more important.
Techniques and Emphasis
- To emphasize an idea, use any of the following strategies (to subordinate and idea, simply use the opposite strategy)
- Put the idea in a short simple sentence.
- Place the major idea first or last in a paragraph.
- Make the noun you want to emphasize the subject of the sentence.
- Devote more space to the idea
- Use Language that directly implies importance (most important, major, primary)
- Use repetition
- Use mechanical means: enumeration, italics, second color, indent
The ethical dimension
use language that expresses your honest evaluation, do not mislead the reader
Use Positive Language
- Negative language often has the oposite effect.
- Bad: The briefcase is not made of cheap imitation leather
- Good: The briefcase is made of 100% belt leather for years of durable service.
- Bad: can not, will not, mistake, damage, refuse, deny
Stress the "You" Attitude
- The "you" attitude empasizes what the receiver (the listener or the reader) wants to know and how he or she will be affected by the message. Develop empathy - the ability to project yourself into another person's position and to understatnd that persons situation.
- Bad: I am shipping your order this afternoon
- Good: You should recieve your order by Friday
Emphasize how the receiver will benefit from doing what you ask.
- When you refuse someones request, disagree with someone: avoid the "you".
- Bad: You should have included more supporting evidence in your presentation.
- Good: Including more supporting evidence would have made the presentation more convincing.